One of the most rewarding things about putting out a fanzine is coming into contact with other like-minded folk trying to do the same thing. After I published and distributed Cthulhu Commune at NecronomiCon-Providence 2013, I received an email from a collector of Lovecraftian fanzines in France. Adam Joffrain is an author and translator, and earlier this year, he became the publisher of Nightgaunt, which to my knowledge, is the first bilingual Lovecraftian zine. In his first two issues he has published a new Wilum Pugmire story, begun the task of translating Pugmire's sonnet sequence Some Unknown Gulf of Night into French, and introduced authors Chrystel Duchamp and Ran Cartwright to new audiences. It's one of the more exciting endevours of the year and I'm proud to have been asked to contribute, since the other artists featured are fan favorites: Allen Kozsowski, Kim Holm, and Nick Gucker. That's some pretty good company to keep.
For Duchamp's short story "The Impostor" in issue #2, I made a 5"x7" sketch, the same dimensions of the scratchboard I'd work on. I modeled the Lovecraft statue on the bust created by Bryan Moore, and since I don't own a replica, I drew a likeness from photos I took during the 2013 unveiling and installation at the Athenaeum Library in Providence. Because of the transformation in the story, I didn't want to show the protagonist... at one point, I thought to have a mirror on the wall, but it was too tempting to show the face. The only recognizable face would be Lovecraft, the statue on the writing desk. The author held a fountain pen, the kind I am fond of sketching with outdoors. The books should be French editions, I thought, so I Googled French titles in print and available on Amazon, and added the text to the finished scratchboard in Photoshop.
To show the physical transformation that occurs in Duchamp's story, the protagonist's arms would be bare, revealing twisting muscles under the skin, as if snakes were coiling within. It didn't feel like an effective illustration to me, not as a stand-alone image, but with the story, it captured the act of deformation, and the French "imposteur!" pointed towards the title of the story and an accusation, written either by a stranger... or possibly by the author himself. I placed a framed painting in the background of the author's study, which isn't in Duchamp's story and is only meaningful to myself- Magritte's "The Lovers," which I saw during a Magritte Retrospective in Chicago in 1993. The heads of a man and woman are wrapped in cloth, giving them a strange deformity and anonymity, skewing identity... which were themes in Duchamp's "The Impostor," too.
|Photo of scratchboard|
Joffrain has sent me ten copies of each issue of Nightgaunt to bring with me to this year's NecronomiCon-Providence, and I expect the covers to capture some attention, but it will be the stories within that will endure. Look for more information on Nightgaunt at its Facebook page or its storefront for ordering instructions. I've also interviewed Joffrain in the second issue of my Cthulhu Commune zine, which will be made available after the convention.